A PRIDE of Whitby award winner is retiring after 22 years of working within the community.
Viv Wright started working part-time for the Scarborough Blind and Partially Sighted Society in 1990 but is leaving as chief officer.
Originally Viv did 14 hours a week and had just a few pieces of equipment and a talking clock on hand to help the local people who had sight problems.
Since then she has developed an information service in Scarborough Hospital, social groups and a home delivery service where people with eyesight problems could buy items like talking clocks to make day to day life easier.
Other equipment she has sourced to aid routine tasks include mobile phones with bigger buttons and a magnifying screen which users can place over their hands to carry out tasks like handicrafts, needlework and painting their nails.
The society also now works with North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) to make sure street signs and furniture don’t cause obstructions.
Viv, of Helredale Road, told the Whitby Gazette: “I realised there was a lot more potential, but the big thing at the time was people were being registered as visually impaired and there was no back up.”
As more and more people began using the service Viv began to branch out with the kind of help the organisation could offer.
“We were at the forefront at that time developing services for sight-impaired people.
“We started doing claim forms for disability living allowance and attendance allowance.
“That brought quite a bit of money into the town’s economy as well as giving them money for their own needs.”
In 1990 a new premises for the society was opened because the services they offered and the numbers of people accessing them had grown and Viv was the driving force behind getting the lottery grant and fund-raising for the equipment needed to kit out the new building.
After she retires on 5 April Viv will continue her work with the society as a trustee but will now have more time for her role with Helredale Neighbourhood Council (HNC) which is fighting to stop development of the playing fields and for gardening.
She added: “When I started, never in a month of Sundays did I think I would stay 22 years but it is such a worthwhile cause.”